JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 20, 2012) – The Florida Gulf Coast softball team used a big dose of power and pitching to soar past the Bucs on Friday evening, as the Eagles swept ETSU in Atlantic Sun Conference action at Betty Basler Field.
The Eagles blasted four home runs and freshman righty Shelby Morgan tossed her seventh shutout of the season as FGCU took game one, 10-2 in five innings. In the nightcap, the visitors from Ft. Myers, Fla. finished off the sweep by belting six extra base-hits in an 8-2 victory.
ETSU has now tied the school record with its 13th consecutive setback and dropped to 10-29, 0-12, while the Eagles moved into sole possession of first-place in the A-Sun standings after improving to 31-21, 11-3.
In game one, the Eagles broke the game open by plating seven second-inning runs courtesy of a solo homer by Kirsten Bembnowski and a grand slam by Chelsea Zgrabik, while a passed ball and a bases loaded walk allowed two more runs to cross the dish prior to Zgrabik’s eighth round-tripper of the season.
The long-ball came into play again in the fourth when FGCU’s Mariah Fernandez belted a solo shot down the line in right and Zgrabik ripped her second home run of the game by powering a two-run bomb to left, extending the Eagles lead to, 10-0.
The Blue and Gold never had an answer for Morgan’s pitching as the Bucs were held to three hits in the game-shortened contest.
Morgan improved to 18-5 on the season after striking out six batters, while sophomore Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) was pulled from the circle after issuing four runs (three earned) on two hits in 1.2 innings of work. Wolff suffered the loss as her record moved to 4-15.
Once again the second inning was very kind to FGCU in game two as the Eagles broke a scoreless game by plating three runs in the inning to take the 3-0 lead. With two outs and the bases loaded, Regan Knapik – the Eagles’ No. 9 hitter – cleared the bases with a three-run scoring double to the gap in left-center, marking her 19th hit of the season (fourth double).
After scoring solo runs in the third and sixth innings, the Eagles put the game out of reach when Kirsten Bembnowski connected on FGCU’s fifth home run of the doubleheader as her three-run round-tripper made it an 8-0 contest.
The Bucs finally snapped their scoreless streak when junior Whitley Hensley’s (Erwin, Tenn.) two-run dinger in the bottom of the inning made it an 8-2 final.
Despite having her shutout bid come to an end in the seventh, Amanda Josie improved her mark to 10-5 after allowing two runs on six hits in six innings of work. Meanwhile, senior Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) tossed 150 pitches in the loss (2-11) and was tagged for all eight runs (seven earned) on 12 hits in the complete game effort.
Zgrabik proved to be a thorn in the Bucs’ side as she finished the two games with a .667 batting average (4-6) along with a double, two home runs, and seven RBI.
Freshman outfielder Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) recorded her first collegiate three-hit game in game two after going perfect 3-for-3 with a double and run scored.
The Bucs conclude their brief homestand on Saturday when ETSU hosts Stetson starting at 1 p.m. from Betty Basler Field. Saturday is also “Senior Day” as four Buccaneer seniors will be recognized in between games.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.